COVID-19 is ravaging Black communities. In Cincinnati, Black residents are 44% of the population. But they make up 49% of COVID-19 deaths.
For decades, big tobacco has targeted Black communities. Black neighborhoods have more tobacco ads. They have more stores that sell tobacco, too.
Taken together, COVID-19 and tobacco use can be especially dire. Early research shows people who smoke are more likely to have serious illness if infected with COVID-19.
When it comes to health, these factors are working against Black people in Greater Cincinnati.
But we have the power to start to address some of the inequity. We can start the conversation about quitting smoking and encourage and support Black people in their journey.
The Greater Cincinnati Adult Tobacco Survey has found that 7 in 10 African American smokers in Greater Cincinnati report they are thinking about quitting cigarettes for good. And more than half of African American smokers have tried to quit in the past year.
For many people, it is not easy to quit. Nicotine is highly addictive and many people try to quit several times before they succeed.
A new initiative tackles these issues. Quit Culture aims to help Black adults in Greater Cincinnati reduce their tobacco use.
It includes a free cessation app in partnership with 2Morrow Health, support on social media and virtual events.
Quit Culture specifically addresses the reasons that Black families smoke, including stress and trauma. It offers step-by-step support to help you quit—making a goal that seemed impossible now possible.
If you or someone you know is ready to quit smoking, download the Quit Culture app for help.
Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president, chief executive officer and a board member of Interact for Health and Interact for Change. He joined Interact for Health as president in October 2016.